Every year the Saskatchewan Woodworkers Guild puts on an exhibition of the work of its members. Last year's Wood Show ran from Saturday, May 31 to Sunday, June 8, 2001. The Guild has members who do all forms of woodwork, but this article presents just some of the carvings that were entered. The show is an exhibition only: there are no competitions, and there is no jury selection to enter a piece. All members of the Guild are encouraged to enter at least one piece, although only about 50 of our 200 members do so. The primary objective is for the members to have a chance to see each others work. The show is held in the Galleria Building in Innovation Place on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan. The Galleria Building is open to the public during regular office hours, and the Guild pays for security personnel so it can be open in the evenings and the two weekends of the show.
The show actually starts Friday evening with a reception for members and invited guests. There were approximately 80 members and spouses in attendance. We also had the local MLA represent the provincial government. Paul Perron, president of the Guild, opens the show. You can see that it is a real formal affair. :-)
As usual there was a wide variety of carvings
from several of the members of the Guild. This article only presents
some of the carving that was on exhibit. Some of the local woodturners
consider the lathe as a power carving tool, but I have not included
any of their work in this article. :-) I have acted as Set-up
Director for the last several years. I try to position objects
by themes rather than by who made the piece. However, this year
I grouped the work of individual carvers in several cases. We
never know until the afternoon of set-up how the show will come
together, but it always turns out to be an excellent show with
a range of proficiency and techniques on display. The one thing
we don't have in our Guild is a chainsaw carver. So if any of
you want to move to Saskatoon, you can become the local expert
Every year we have an item that becomes the "show stopper". The one that garners the most oohs and aahs from the viewers. This year it was actually five scrollsawn clocks by Ray Halcro from Yorkton, Saskatchewan. This clock stands over 4 feet high (about 1.5 meters). The intricacy and uniformity of all the small details were incredible! Although scroll saw work is not strictly carving, I thought you would be interested in seeing one of these beautiful clocks.
Yorkton is a small city in eastern Saskatchewan about 400 km east of Saskatoon. A small group of woodworkers has recently formed a guild with the support and encouragement of our Guild. President Paul has traveled there a couple of times to help them get started. Photo albums of previous Wood Shows have been helpful in showing them what is possible.
Let's start with relief carving. Here is a portrait created by Bill Black under the tutelage of Bill Judt. This was developed from a photo of a friend who caught a nice Northern Pike on a recent fishing trip.
Speaking of Bill Judt, here is one of his family heirloom carvings. Bill had a couple of his other pieces in the show also, but I think we have had a chance to see them elsewhere. Both of these pieces were done in northern white birch and finished with Bill's technique of sanding sealer and wax. The picture was taken at an angle (as I am sure you can tell), but still the relief image creates the illusion of depth.
While we are on "hung" carvings, here is a very nice piece done by Emil Brehm. Emil does many forms of woodwork but is quite new to intarsia. He also had a portrait of a mare and foal. Butch Williams had several intarsia pieces, but I believe they were in last year's article. [There is no date criterion for members entering pieces. They are free to show whatever they feel represents their interests and talents.]
This chip carved plate is not "hung" but it is mostly flat, so it sort of falls into this section. Here Louis Hartman is experimenting with stains in his beautiful chip carvings. Because of the enlargement from the scanned image this looks somewhat fuzzy. However, I assure you that Louis's work is crisp and exact. Here is one example of turning, as Louis turns his own basswood plates for carving. Many of Louis's pieces are done was gifts, so they often have the names and significant dates of the recipients worked into the pattern.
Two more pieces that are suffering from my scanning abilities are these bark carvings by Brian Lockie. As you can see Brian uses a little paint for the eyes and sometimes for the beards of his wood spirits. The longer one is likely cottonwood bark. The smaller looks like it is black poplar.
Ray Auckland had several smoothies that were put together to make a group. Ray has done many forms of woodwork and most recently has started carving.
Colin Ward carves a variety of themes although this year the birds dominated. Several of the carvers get together for weekly sessions. I think bison must have been on their minds, as we will see it re-appearing in the next display. The item at the bottom is a wooden chain in progress, showing people what the steps are in doing one.
Ron Davidson is a mentor to many of us. He has done many polar bears in a variety of poses. He has done 4 or 5 greenmen over the last few years.
Here is a closer look at the greenman. Ron says that these are an ancient image throughout many parts of Europe. It is not understood what they symbolize. Perhaps they are the original woodspirits. Each of his greenmen has been a different design. They have been quite popular with the public.
Gordon Bowman entered his Great Blue Heron. This carving stands about 3 feet high (about 1 meter for those of us who are metrified.) He carved two of these to stand beside his fireplace.
Howard Brown has been working on Atlantic Puffins. He is trying several sizes and variations on the poses. It doesn't come through in this photo very well, but he is also learning about texturing and painting the rocks for the bases. The large rock was very well done. The actual carving was quite a convincing rock. These are all smoothies as the bird carvers call them.
Harry Woloshin started carving by doing this set of Native Americans. He was mostly done the set before he learned of the Guild. Hopefully you can see that he has also been experimenting with painting and staining. These are all carved from basswood. Although the basic design is the same for all, the adornments are different for each